Skip to main content

9 Ways to Catch Crappie in Hot Weather

For resilient anglers who can tolerate the heat, mosquitoes and sunburn that often are part of summer fishing, their reward is hooking lots of big crappie when the right tactics are used

9 Ways to Catch Crappie in Hot Weather
9 Ways to Catch Crappie in Hot Weather

Unfortunately, many hot-weather crappie outings end in failure. Why? Mainly because anglers insist on using the same fishing methods they use during the crappie’s spring spawning season, and these methods rarely entice slabs when the water is as hot as a Jacuzzi. Success comes only to those anglers who know specific tactics for catching summer’s finicky fish.

Toward that end, here are 9 tips to help you nab hot-water crappie this time of year. Study them, employ them and enjoy the bounty.

Attract Minnows, Attract Crappie

When fishing is slow during daylight hours, try an approach that duplicates the use of a crappie light at night. A light attracts insects, which in turn attracts minnows. But minnows also are attracted by chumming with dry dog food, bread crumbs or similar offerings. Scatter the chum by handfuls in several shallow-water areas, then move back to the first place you put chum and drop in a minnow. Fish each consecutive spot and see if your catch rate doesn’t improve. Often, it will.

Scale Drop

Here’s another “chumming” method to try when fishing is slow. Save some scales from the next crappie you dress. Rinse them and store inside a sealable container filled with water. Carry the container on your outings, and if things get slow, drop a few scales in the water above inundated cover. As the scales fall, they flicker and catch the eye of crappie, which often will move toward them to investigate. A jig or minnow presented on a tight line in the vicinity may get hit.


Stump Knocking

A double-hook, bottom-bouncing rig provides an excellent means for waylaying summer crappie holding near stumps on flats adjacent bottom channels. A 1-ounce bell sinker tied at line’s end allows the angler to feel the bottom and find the stumps. Above the sinker are tied two 6-inch drop loops 18 inches apart, and a crappie hook is tied to each dropper. The rig is baited with live minnows or jig/minnow combos.


While wind drifting or slow trolling with an electric motor, work the rig in a lift-drop fashion. When you feel the rig bump against a stump, lift it up and over. Strikes often come just as the rig is lowered behind woody cover.

On the Surface

Near dawn or dusk, summer crappie schools may surface to feed on minnows and shad. The attentive angler can zero in on such schools by watching for rough patches on an otherwise smooth lake surface. Use a trolling motor or paddle to approach barely within casting range. A long rod (6 feet plus) and small spinning reel spooled with 2- to 4-pound-test line allow longer casts with shad imitations such as jigs, spinners or live minnows. Suspend the lure or bait a few inches below a bobber, and get ready for action.

Dock Walk

Summer crappie may move fairly shallow, even on sunny days, if they can find overhead cover that shades them from bright rays. Boat docks, fishing piers and swimming platforms provide such cover, but anglers in boats may fail to get bites because crappie can see them. These same fish may bite, however, when the angler walks on the wooden structure and fishes from above. Crappie get used to foot traffic on these structures and seldom spook, so the quiet overhead approach often works when a bait presented from a boat won’t. Let the wind drift a minnow or jig suspended under a bobber into the shade beneath the structure. Or try fishing vertically through wide cracks in boards that lie over the shadiest water.

Side-trolling

When trolling for deep summer crappie, try mounting your trolling motor on the side of the boat instead of the front. This allows you to move in a very slow, controlled fashion so you can mine deep structures more efficiently.


Glow-in-the-Dark Tactics

Many jigs now are available with glow-in-the-dark bodies and/or heads. Do they work? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, in my experience. But at times, when conventional jigs aren’t producing, I’ve rigged with a luminescent version and started catching crappie after crappie. Rigging a small cyalume stick a foot or so ahead of the jig often improves effectiveness.

Crickets and Mayflies

Summer mayfly hatches are common on many crappie lakes, and when they occur, crappie move shallow to gorge on mayfly larvae and emerging adults. If you see numerous mayflies, dispense with lures and minnows, and try fishing an unweighted cricket instead. Although a cricket hardly resembles a mayfly, hungry crappie filling their bellies on insects won’t refuse one. Hook the cricket through the collar to keep it lively, then flip it on top of the water and wait for the hit that is sure to come. You’ll probably land as many bluegills as crappie, but where crappie are common, they’ll comprise a good portion of your catch.

Find Springs in Winter

You’ll have to think ahead to make this trick work, but you should! To zero in on some of the best summer crappie hotspots, visit your favorite lake in winter just before ice-over. Springs that feed a lake are easier to find then, because many have a warm inflow that shows up as a spot of mist or vapor on the cold water’s surface. That warm inflow will be a cool inflow in summer, but without the mist to mark its location. Remember the spot when you find it in winter, then return in summer and work surrounding cover for crappie attracted to the spring’s cool, comfortable water.


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter.

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Make this venison chorizo recipe and cook it right away or freeze it (cooked or raw) and use it as needed.Venison Chorizo Recipe Wild Game

Venison Chorizo Recipe

Allie Doran - October 30, 2020

Make this venison chorizo recipe and cook it right away or freeze it (cooked or raw) and use...

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.

Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? The first step is perfecting your release.6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow Hunting How-To

6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow

Jace Bauserman - August 27, 2020

Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? The first step is perfecting your release.

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards. Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently.10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to...

See More Trending Articles

More Fishing

Lake Erie and its onshore marshes offer potential for big smallies and wondrous waterfowling.Big Water, Ample Hunting & Fishing Options on Lake Erie Hunting

Big Water, Ample Hunting & Fishing Options on Lake Erie

M.D. Johnson - November 04, 2020

Lake Erie and its onshore marshes offer potential for big smallies and wondrous waterfowling.

A two-pronged tactic of fishing in a wheelhouse and roving the ice looking for active bites can do wonders.Stay and Go to Up Your Ice-Fishing Success Fishing How-To

Stay and Go to Up Your Ice-Fishing Success

Joel Nelson - January 13, 2021

A two-pronged tactic of fishing in a wheelhouse and roving the ice looking for active bites...

In-Fisherman legend, 86, changed the sport of fishing like few others have.Fishing Pioneer, Hall-of-Famer Ron Lindner Passes Away News

Fishing Pioneer, Hall-of-Famer Ron Lindner Passes Away

Lynn Burkhead - December 01, 2020

In-Fisherman legend, 86, changed the sport of fishing like few others have.

A cold weather front can put a major damper on the bass bite. Throw these lures to overcome the odds.How to Battle Cold Fronts for Big-Chill Bass Bass

How to Battle Cold Fronts for Big-Chill Bass

Ken Duke - November 19, 2020

A cold weather front can put a major damper on the bass bite. Throw these lures to overcome...

See More Fishing

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now